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American philanthropist Bunny Mellon dies at 103

Published on Mar 19, 2014 1:00 AM

WASHINGTON - Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, the aristocratic philanthropist and a close friend of Jacqueline Kennedy who provided money used to conceal 2008 U.S. presidential candidate John Edwards' extramarital affair, has died at the age of 103, her attorney's office confirmed on Tuesday.

Mellon, an avid, self-taught horticulturist who redesigned the White House Rose Garden during the Kennedy administration, died on Monday at her Virginia estate of natural causes related to her age, according to a statement from Alex Forger, Mellon's personal attorney.

Mellon came from a wealthy background and married into the Mellon banking family. She had a fortune estimated by Newsweek magazine at US$400 million (S$505 million) in 2011, even as she and her husband, Paul Mellon, gave away millions during their lives.

Mellon was the toast of high society. She entertained Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Oak Spring in 1957 and years later played host to Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

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